Solo violinist Nathaniel Dene Hoffman will perform a free concert with accompanying pianist Johanna Ballou Sunday, Aug. 17, at 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Washington. The event is being cosponsored by Peace Lutheran Church and the Washington Missouri Optimists, a civic club that works to assist youth in the Washington area.
Admission is free, however, a freewill offering will be taken, with 100 percent of the offering benefiting Grace’s Place Crisis Nursery, an organization based in Washington that provides shelter and a safe environment for children in crisis situations.
Hoffman began playing violin at the age of 5 and has been playing for 13 years. He began taking lessons with violinist and Union resident Gina Leeker, then continued his studies with Dr. Kent Perry in Kirkwood. Most recently, Hoffman has been studying with Paul Huppert, concertmaster with the St. Louis Civic Orchestra.
At age 9, Hoffman joined the St. Charles County Youth Orchestra. A year later, he served as concertmaster for the group’s Cadenza Orchestra, and currently performs in the first violin section of the Symphony Orchestra, under Director Shane Williams.
Hoffman is a member of the Washington High School orchestra, performing under the direction of Meghan Brueggemann. He has served as concertmaster for the school’s Chamber Orchestra, and also has had two years of experience with the Missouri All-State Orchestra, and as a substitute with the Lindenwood University Symphony Orchestra.
He has performed in the orchestral pit for Broadway on the Driveway’s annual summer musicals and for various area church services.
In addition to violin, Hoffman participates in the Washington High School choir. He plays piano and bass guitar and programs computers in his spare time. He also is fluent in French and is learning Russian.
Ballou has performed internationally and is known for her stage presence and dynamic interpretations.
Ballou studied at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the United Kingdom and has toured alongside members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Sinfonietta for the contemporary chamber opera company Music Theatre Wales. She has collaborated with Diversians, the National Dance Company of Wales, and worked in music for Welsh independent film, television, theater, and art installation projects.
Since returning to the United States in 2009, she has worked closely with composers in the performance of new music and performs educational programs for children throughout Missouri and Illinois.
St. Peter’s United Church of Christ is located at 20 E. Fifth St. in Washington.